Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 13, 2019
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:38-39
When Jesus healed the demon-possessed man in Luke 8, understandably the man was filled with gratitude and eager to be near Jesus. In fact, Luke tells us that the man begged to be with him. If you’ve never read the story before, you’d be forgiven for assuming Jesus would say, “Come on, let’s go!” It’s easy to imagine them embracing on the boat and setting off on a great ministry adventure. And yet, perhaps surprisingly, Jesus doesn’t say this. He sends the man away. Why would Jesus seemingly reject the man he healed just moments before? Because Jesus loved him and there was still healing that this man needed in his life, and his healing would only be complete if he did the hard work of sticking around.
This man was shunned, outcast, and rejected by every single person he had once known and loved. He was literally seen as the town crazy person! And while I do believe he wanted to be with Jesus, I also believe he wanted to get away from the people who knew him well. He wanted a fresh start, to go someplace new where no one knew his story, where he didn’t have to feel the shame of his brokenness. I believe this is why Jesus asked the man to stick around- he wants him to do the harder work of staying rooted as an embodiment of the hope of the gospel.
How many times have you been tempted to pack up and leave when life gets complicated? If you stick around the same people and place long enough, eventually your true self will be known. You will hurt others and be wounded by them, and you will find yourself overwhelmed by the pressure of the situation and desperate for a release, an escape. We do this with work, church community, and close friendships.
The challenge of Jesus to this man and to us is to stay rooted where we are as a testimony to the power of the gospel. By sticking around, even when it’s hard and uncomfortable, you are able to bear witness to the transforming power of God at work in your life over long periods of time. Similarly, you are encouraged by seeing the ways God tells good, long, faithful stories in the lives of the people you love the most.
When you’re tempted to run, trust that Jesus is with you where you are and is inviting you to be a part of the healing that he is bringing to your family and community through your faithful presence and testimony of “all that God has done for you.”
Father, give us the strength to bear witness to the power of your healing presence in our lives and amongst the people who know us best. Amen.
What hard situation are you facing that you’d love to escape? Ask God for the courage to press in, even when it’s hard, as a testimony to his love and grace.
When you’re tempted to run, trust that Jesus is with you where you are and stay. #stay #wisdomhunters #Jesus
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